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Top Shelf: Get gingerbread inspired in St. Moritz

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Top Shelf: by Chef Timothy MacDonald

No greater experience yet lived was the one experienced on Amevi where, after lunch floating just off Nice, I was whisked away without consent on the owner’s private jet, with owner’s wife’s handbag put in my control to the ski resort town of St. Moritz.

If for no other reason, the perks of the job far outweigh the negatives when it comes to being a food heater on yachts.

I can still see the head stew’s acidic stare as she clung tightly to the fence as the jet powered up and took off. Mini me was not happy. Jealousy does have a green face.

Ah, St. Moritz. Think Roger Moore, men’s tailored slacks, Russian bunnies with fur-lined Moncler puffers, high-end sports cars, clocks, higher end state-of-the-art Swiss workmanship and timing. Ohhhhh, it’s all in the timing.

This is not the town to find New Age quinoa-ian cuisine. It’s old school Swiss: fondue, lardons, speck, and confit. Gut sticking and nourishing.

Straight out of the film set of “Where Eagles Dare”, I lived large for two weeks, heating food for the private London family in their mansion at the top of the hill overlooking the valley floor. Christmas, New Year’s celebrations, Germany’s highest end politician and all sorts turned up. What sticks out among all that was the massive spa window overlooking the mountain as you sat in the sauna, and of course the gingerbread. Is there no other more fitting symbolic example of this classic posh ski resort town than the gingerbread creations created at the famous café Hanselmann? The seating area alone is worth the €10 cost for a cup of coffee.

Gingerbread is the quintessential Christmas pastry in this part of the world. Personally, I like my bread spicy and soft, but it’s up to each chef to adjust the following recipe.

GINGERBREAD
(recipe from Bo Friberg)

  • 430gr butter
  • 430gr sugar
  • 510gr corn syrup
  • 180ml milk
  • 1.2 kg bread flour
  • 15gr baking powder
  • 30gr ground cinnamon
  • 15gr ground cloves
  • 15gr ground ginger

Method:

  • Melt the butter, sugar, corn syrup and milk until warm (98 degrees F). 
  • In a stand up mixer, mix the flour, baking powder and spices until well combined. 
  • Add the wet ingredients and mix to form a dough.
  • Wrap and refrigerate. 
  • Roll out the dough and cut to form. Bake for 10-11 mins at 205 c.

Timothy MacDonald (timothymacdonald.weebly.com) has more than 20 years experience as a chef. He was named Concours de Chefs winner for yachts over 160 feet at the 2011 Antigua Charter Yacht Show. His recipes are designed for the owner and guests. Comments are welcome below.

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